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Technology

Help Me mow the Lawn, Obi Wan

By Eric PowellJanuary 1, 2001 6:00 AM

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High-powered lasers cannot yet shoot down enemy missiles, but they sure do a nice job pulverizing crabgrass. Wolf-Garten in Betzdorf, Germany, has unveiled a concept mower that trims the lawn with light. The ominously named "Zero" is built onto a Smart Car, a two-seater sold in Europe.

The Zero features a single-diode laser that dissects grass blades into dry particles less than a tenth of an inch long. The fine clippings decompose quickly on the ground, supplying the soil with nutrients and eliminating the need for mulching. Michael Simon, manager of research and development for Wolf-Garten, anticipates a commercial version of the Zero will hit the market within five years. He's not discussing the price at this point, but he thinks you'll need a lot of attitude or a lot of lawn to justify buying one: "Otherwise, you can buy a normal lawn mower."

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